Over 1,000 residents and businesses have signed a petition, requesting An Post to safeguard the future of Cratloe Post Office, it emerged this week.
However, it looks as if the newly-established Cratloe Post Office Action Group will have a big battle on its hands to save the post office, despite huge support from the local community for its retention.
Group members were told by senior officials from An Post, at a meeting in the Radisson Hotel, Cratloe, on Friday, that the post office needs more financial transactions.
A large delegation from the group, as well as Oireachtas members and councillors, met two senior executives from An Post to discuss the future of this vital rural service.
The meeting was told that An Post had about 1,140 post offices throughout the country and that it is trying to compete with banks, who had much smaller overheads and maintenance costs.
Members of the new action group, including chairperson, Tara McWaine; secretary, Deirdre Ryan; public relations officer, Jim Enright; and acting community council chairperson, Josefa McElligott, presented a strong case for retaining this service. They were supported by Clare deputies, Timmy Dooley, Joe Carey and Pat Breen, Senator Tony Mulcahy, Mayor of Clare, Councillor John Crowe and Councillor PJ Ryan. The meeting was also attended by residents, Jim McInerney, Philip Hayes, Derek Merrigan and Mary Farrelly.
The delegation was told that all public submissions have to be with An Post before next Friday, July 11. It is expected that a decision on the future of Cratloe Post Office will be made within a matter of weeks.
Organisations such as the IFA and the GAA have already made detailed submissions to the group for their submission, which is being finalised.
While the An Post officials were informed about the 1,000 signatures on the group’s petition, it was decided not to hand it over, as names were still being added to this list.
Group public relations officer, Jim Enright proposed that the post office would remain open on a five-year trial basis, before it would be reviewed again. However, he was informed that reviews are normally carried out after three years.
He stressed that the group reserved the right to travel to An Post’s headquarters in Dublin to make a further presentation, if this was deemed necessary.
Over 200 concerned residents and business people met in a major show of solidarity for the retention of this vital local service at a public meeting in Cratloe Community Centre recently.
With almost 300 children attending Cratloe National School, the meeting was told that retaining the shop and post office was vital for the local community.
In a recent letter to the community council, Dermot O’Brien, who operates the post office in Ashling’s Foodstore, warned that, like all small retail businesses, the shop has been hit hard by the recession.
“Sales have decreased year on year. Turnover is down by almost 50% from six years ago. I regret to say that without the second source of income from the post office, the shop would simply not be viable,” he stated.
In a statement issued to The Clare Champion, Councillor Mike McKee applauded the action group and pledged to support them in whatever way he could.
“The Irish Postmasters Union published a report recently, which found that the postal network will decline by 48% by 2017. Post offices provide vital services. They are also a focal point of many towns and villages. They are a meeting place for many people.
“Closures will no doubt add to rural isolation. An Post and the government need to work to guarantee a thriving post office network across rural Ireland, providing an increased range of services,” he said.